Willie Nelson says he’s no longer smoking marijuana due to breathing issues

SAN ANTONIO – Midway through a sold out two night stand at the Majestic Theater here, country music icon Willie Nelson said that in spite of recent breathing related health issues, he has no plans to give up touring.

“I love the bus,” he told KSAT TV’s Paul Venema during a recent interview. “This is my home.”

Performing, he says, is his key to happiness and good health.

“It’s an energy exchange,” he said, describing his relationship with the audience. “They give me a lot of positive energy and I hope to give them a lot of positive energy.”

He added “For an hour they get away from everything they don’t like.”

Years of smoking marijuana, the country music legend admits, has taken a toll on his health.

Nelson, 86, said “I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful.”

“I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever,” he said. “And that almost killed me.”

It didn’t, so he made a decision.

“I don’t smoke anymore - take better care of myself,” Nelson said.

His health issues have generated rumors suggesting that he is near death.

“I don’t give a (expletive deleted) I’m here, I’m glad to be here,” and with a smile added “I’m lucky to be here.”

About the Authors

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

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